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I am a Mom of two young lads, a fitness fanatic and wife to a die-hard Packers/Brewers fan. I worked in corporate america for 12 years. Now I am on a new adventure - raising my sons and working part-time in the fitness industry as a Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor. I hope you stop by and read my updates- family, fitness, or life related!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What the Heck is a Spirited Baby?

This does not appear to be a so-called "Spirited" child? No?

Yep, I am totally one of those freaks that researches things on the Internet that may be so easy for others to figure out on their own...for example, like how to calm my screaming baby down during one of his shrieking episodes that occurs frequently? I mean why not look to the experts when everything is just a click away now. Or maybe I am just one tired momma who has tried every trick-in-the-book and still can't quite figure this baby out completely.

I give myself a pat on the back for figuring out that Liam had reflux and taking him into the Doctor for that. One positive check for Mom. Well now that he has been on meds for a few weeks and the reflux appears to be better, I am perplexed at why these screaming episodes occur anywhere from 3 to 7 times a day? It doesn't appear to be colic since it's not all-day and it's not totally inconsolable. It does seem to be when he gets sleepy (I have concluded after 8 weeks of trying everything else out). So is there anyway to reduce these episodes so I can perhaps cook dinner in peace and not burn it, or attend to the needs of a 2 year old and not have to run back and forth and pick up a screaming baby...and most of all, if I can't figure out how to get him to stop do I really have to keep putting him in the car seat and turn the dryer on (yes, I do this) or bundle everyone up and go for walks outside at the bewitching hour of 5:30 everyday? I don't mind the walks- but really it's going to get cold out so that is only going to do the trick for so long! I guess there's always car rides!

So, yesterday I did some brief research on the Internet in my spare time of oh, about two minutes. Here's what the experts on babies are telling me. I may have a "Spirited" baby on my hands. Ok, what the heck does that mean anyway? (The other categories are: Angel, Textbook, Touchy and Grumpy.) Who knew babies could be categorized by their behaviors at such a young age? In a nutshell, my answers to their behavioral questions on babies looked like this:

  • His scream is the same for all needs (hunger, tired, etc..)- at the top of his lungs
  • He shows no signs of being tired and then immediately his mood changes the second he is sleepy
  • You can't let him "cry it out" because he only gets more worked up- face turns red, gets sweaty, face scrunches up
  • He cries at loud noises (when I sneeze, yell for Braden in the other room or when I have the blow dryer on)
  • He cries when he gets his clothes changed or as soon as he comes out of the bath
  • He is sensitive to light (won't drink his bottle under bright lights but will chug it under a dimmer light)
  • He is active, strong and has jerky movements
  • He has to be swaddled because he flails his arms all over the place
  • He has to be put into his swaddle when he is still calm, and be put to bed when he's calm and drowsy or he will bang his head and kick his legs (sounds fun eh?)
  • He likes to be held and likes familiar faces (he is the happiest, smiliest baby when I am close enough for him to see me)
  • When drinking a bottle he tries to grab or hold it
These are just a sample of traits of a "Spirited" baby which basically go on to explain that these babies are more high-needs, sensitive, require more structure, will have a hard time going to strangers, has a hard time being overstimulated, fights his sleep and needs extra assistance to fall asleep and stay asleep (yikes, how am I going to explain this to future babysitters). They also say that growing up he will most likely be very independent, have separation anxiety that could last up until 1 to 5 years (holy **@$), need a lot of physical contact, will have disrupted sleep, will not take direction on simple everyday tasks such as brushing teeth, buckling car seat, etc... and the list goes on. Ok, can you really tell this will be your child's behaviors based on what they are like as a baby?

I have NO idea if any of this is true or not, but I am no expert. I have had one child so far who was pretty darn easy and laid-back and still is. THANKFULLY! The one thing I do know is that Joe and I both agree that Liam's temperament seems opposite of what Braden was as a baby. Yikes. What does this say about my future as a Mom who would like to stay sane (because right now I border on insane most days)? If you have any idea if this is true, or if you have had a so-called "Spirited baby" please give me some insight! All I know is until some of this shakes out, I may need to teach as many classes at the YMCA (for stress-relief) and make sure my house is stocked with wine and will need to line up babysitters to keep in touch with outside life. Booya, welcome to motherhood of two!

Jokes aside, if this indeed the case, I will get through it! If Liam keeps up the "Spirited" label into his older years- I will learn to work with and appreciate him for who he is. Afterall, this is just a label and it sounds to me as if "Spirited" could be interpreted down the road as:  creative, keen, eager, full of energy and courage, and having a strong assertive personality. You always have to look at the positive side. We'll see what holds true for Mister Liam. For now, please help me through the ups/downs!

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